Family group on a verandah, c 1912; photo by Mark James Daniel
The Darragh index is an invaluable resource that you can search at the Library, to help you locate Germans living in Melbourne between 1861 and 1924.
Comprising over 1200 names, with a further 640 names of wives, children and parents appearing within most entries, this index was compiled using the Melbourne German Sick and Relief Society's archival records held at the State Library of Victoria. This collection consists of minute books, membership records, financial records, published histories of the Society, photographs and various documents concerning friendly societies.
In addition to the name and date of joining, or date of nomination if unsuccessful, there is also information about marital status on joining, occupation, date and place of birth, date of death, date of leaving, address at the time of joining, date of arrival in Victoria and on what ship.
The Melbourne German Sick and Relief Society, or Deutscher Krankenverein, was founded in 1861. It provided sickness and death benefits to members and also supported members and others who were needy or out of work. The Society’s records, spanning 63 years, have been translated from the gothic script and indexed by Dr Tom Darragh, author of a number of books about the history of Germans in Victoria.
The Krankenverein records are important because they give a unique picture of the German artisan, labouring and small business classes of Melbourne, about which little is known. Biographical data of members of the various German Lutheran churches is readily available, but many of the Krankenverein members do not seem to have been connected to any Lutheran Church. If the members were German Catholics, they were a small part of a large Catholic community and their records are difficult to find, if available at all. Of particular value are the dates and places of birth in Germany of the members, data that is often difficult to obtain.
Search the Darragh index at the Library
You can only access the Darragh index if you are at the Library.